Thoughts on M. Kate Quinn’s SUMMER IRIS

Remembering my dad today. He would have been 81 and terribly excited and proud about his ‘little girl’s’ achievements. He always encouraged me and had tremendous belief and faith in my God-given gifts. Just sorry he never got to know his grandchildren (all six of them :)).

Good day all! Life gets so busy, I’m just grateful for moments when I can catch up—like this one.

These, like my thoughts on Joy E. Held’s Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity are long overdue. Earlier this year I read my good friend M. Kate Quinn’s debut novel, Summer Iris (The Wild Rose Press). I was especially excited to read this one. M. Kate and I had met at a writers’ meeting and became friends almost immediately. We’d critiqued each other’s work a bit, so I knew about this story firsthand. We also both got our first contracts around the same time, so I feel that, in a way, we’ve come up together.

I fell in love with this page turner from its first paragraph. Not sure the term ‘coming-of-age’ story is appropriate here, but that’s exactly what Summer Iris, the first in this author’s Perennial Series, is. Iris Stanton is a very relatable divorcee who—on her fiftieth birthday—is out of a job, and about to lose her home. As part of a gift, she is challenged by Vonnie, her vibrant, vivacious, always willing-to-go-for-it best friend to step out of character by taking a risk vs. continue living the so-so life Iris has always known. With little else to lose, Iris embarks on a summer of cottage-sitting at theJersey shore.

                                (coming next!)

Via wonderful descriptions, incredible attention to detail and a myriad of lovely similes and metaphors M. Kate took me into Iris’Jersey shore world¸ one I could easily envision, especially being a native and resident of the state. I love the way she connected sapphire dresses and September weddings (for those who don’t know sapphire is September baby’s birthstone—little associations like that always garner my notice). I’m also pretty sure she slipped in an inside joke here and there when it came to naming a character or two—among the fun of reading a personal friend’s work. Well done, M. Kate!

Sensitivity and humor colored the pages. Iris, Vonnie, Eddie, Sam—even Iris’ ex-husband, Roger—are all people I’d love to meet and hang out with at Iris’ shore house. M. Kate endeared me to Iris; I laughed out loud and cheered for her a multitude of times. This author took me through an emotional journey that led to a bit of a surprising resolution. I especially loved the way M. Kate opened this story then smoothly brought it together full circle to a flawless finish. Teary-eyed and emotional, I did a double-take when I realized—with some sadness—I’d turned the last page. Definitely one of those stories I wanted to not end.

So looking forward to reading Moonlight and Violet, second in my author-friend’s Perennial Series. Be on the lookout for Brookside Daisy, coming next and maybe even expect a visit from M. Kate in between now and then!

Until next time,

Joanna